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Office of Business Affairs
Sole and Single Source

Sole & Single Source Contract or Emergency Contracts

Where Competition would otherwise be required, but is not feasible due to the sole source, single source or emergency nature of a commodity or service, the campus must be able to justify and document the selection of the vendor and establish the reasonableness of the price. In accordance with State Finance Law, exceptions to the general requirement for competitive selection shall only be made under unusual circumstances.

Sole & Single Source Procurements

In certain circumstances, a Sole Source or Single Source procurement may be necessary. In either case, the procuring department should begin by developing a statement of work/scope which defines the commodities, technology or services it is seeking to acquire

A Sole Source procurement is one in which only one vendor can supply the commodities, technology and/or perform the services required by an agency. Procurement by this method must be documented in the Procurement Record by an explanation of: (i) the unique nature of the requirement; (ii) the basis upon which it was determined that there is only one known vendor able to meet the need, i.e., the steps taken to identify potential competitors; and (iii) the basis upon which the agency determined the cost to be reasonable, i.e., a "fair market price" that could be anticipated had normal competitive conditions existed, and how that conclusion was reached. (Examples of such a determination may include a comparison to product catalogs, published price lists, retail market surveys, records of previous similar purchases, consulting other purchasing officials, or using professional experience.) All such documentation is required by OSC in order to review the proposed contract.

A Single Source procurement is one in which two or more vendors can supply the commodity, technology and/or perform the services required by an agency, but the State agency selects one vendor over the others for reasons such as expertise or previous experience with similar contracts. Circumstances leading an agency to select this method of procurement may include, for example, an agency's need for a specific consultant firm where a number of firms are available to perform the work. In such a case, the agency can demonstrate a rational basis for selecting a single vendor because of specific factors such as past experience with a particular issue, familiarity with specific agency operations, experience with similar projects at other agencies or at other levels of government, demonstrated expertise, or capacity and willingness to respond to the situation.

In a Single Source procurement, the agency must document in the Procurement Record: (i) the circumstances leading to the selection of the vendor, including the alternatives considered; (ii) its rationale for selecting the specific vendor; and (iii) the basis upon which it determined the cost was reasonable, as in the case of a Sole Source procurement, and how that conclusion was reached. All such documentation is required by OSC in order to review the proposed contract.

Unless the commodity, technology or services are being procured as a result of an emergency, public notice of single source or sole source purchase is required by publication in the New York State Contract Reporter. Contact the Purchasing Associate for details.

Emergency/Critical Purchases

An EMERGENCY situation is an unanticipated, sudden, and unexpected occurrence beyond the control of the campus which threatens:

a) the life, health, safety, or welfare of any person, or

b) the continued public use or function of property of the State of New York.

A CRITICAL situation is defined as a situation, excluding an emergency that will, or has occurred, which impacts a significant campus operation requiring immediate campus action. A campus departments failure to properly and timely plan, in advance, for all procurements which then result in a situation in which normal procurement practices cannot be followed will not constitute a critical situation.